The province wants local municipalities to pay for RCMP dispatching costs. The move could cost Sooke $300,000 a year. (File - Sooke News Mirror)

The province wants local municipalities to pay for RCMP dispatching costs. The move could cost Sooke $300,000 a year. (File - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke taxpayers face $300,000 bill for police dispatching

Mayor says service should be a federal and provincial government responsibility

Sooke taxpayers could face a $300,000 annual bill for police dispatching costs within the next three years – and it’s a decision not sitting well with Mayor Maja Tait.

“It’s challenging for me to accept this as a cost,” said Tait, adding the new expense would mean a four-per-cent increase on local tax bills in 2024.

The reason for the change? The South Vancouver Island police call-taking and dispatch services have been consolidated in one location, with services provided through the South Island Police Dispatch Centre operated by E-Comm.

A spokesperson for the Solicitor General Ministry said the integration of policing services is an “opportunity to provide better service, enhance efficiencies and improve public safety and information sharing among police units.”

Tait questioned that reasoning, pointing out because of the looming bill, hiring another RCMP officer this year and other municipal services could be impacted.

The province hasn’t clarified total costs to Sooke or the other municipalities affected – Ladysmith, North Cowichan, Colwood, View Royal Langford and North Saanich – but has provided a two-year transition plan. (The cost of the program is based on population).

In 2022, the province will contribute 70 per cent of the total cost, while municipalities will be responsible for the remaining 30 per cent. In 2023, the province’s share drops to 35 per cent and the municipal contribution jumps to 65 per cent.

By 2024, the municipality is expected to cover 100 per cent of E-Comm’s dispatch services.

According to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the province has no intention of seeking a similar dispatch service arrangement elsewhere in B.C., other than the Lower Mainland where it already exists.

“It seems to me the province has made a decision, and I’m not comfortable with that decision. I disagree with it,” Tait said.

In 2018, the RCMP advised the province the dispatch service should become the financial responsibility of local governments.

Tait said local officials are trying to understand why the province decided to do so and will seek more information.

In an email response to the UBCM, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged local government concerns. He ensured that “future matters have a significant impact to municipalities, financial or otherwise, and will be brought forward through the appropriate channels.”

Tait believes the dispatching service is a federal and provincial responsibility that is being downloaded onto municipalities.

“It’s one thing to know we need you to fund for this, but when it’s just sprung on you, it’s a little disturbing,” she said.

“It’s just a challenge.”

RELATED: B.C. wants Sooke to cover police 911 costs by 2022

RELATED: CRD Fire Dispatch could see its last call this year



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Emergency callsSookeWest Shore

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read